The Latest in the 3D Craze: Playboy’s Centerfold

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Friday's Playboy will feature its first 3D centerfold.

This Friday will be another pivotal day in the seemingly inevitable march towards universal 3D entertainment as Playboy releases its first centerfold that leaps off the page. This month’s issue marks the first time that the magazine will include a pair of 3D glasses (red/blue), something they had avoided doing for years due to the associated expense. Now, HBO is footing some of the bill as the glasses will advertise for their True Blood series. Playboy is hoping to grab some of the 3D frenzy to help bolster its declining sales. No matter how lovely the centerfold model Hope Dworaczyk may be, I doubt 3D nudity can save print media, but it’s an important sign for the technology that Playboy is trying it.

An increasing number of movies (Avatar foremost among them) are asking us to don some funky glasses to get their “full experience.” We’ve seen how TV is looking to adopt the same trend, probably later this year. It’s unclear whether consumers really value the 3D image for more than its novelty, but media companies are investing big money on the premise that they do.

And when it comes to technology, Playboy is already outstripped by online providers in the same …er, genre. After all, pornography is already one of the biggest businesses on the net. In fact, with the advent of cheap stereoscopic webcams we’re likely to see a growth in all kinds of online 3D images, nude ones included.

Playboy’s leveraging of the technology may be an inspired gamble, but it’s doubtful that any new trend will bring back the dominance of print media. We’re going digital…really, we already have. And 3D glasses, or even video inserts we’ve seen elsewhere, aren’t likely to change that. Playboy’s content might live on, but it’s going to have to adapt to e-newspapers, tablet computers, or web browsers. Which is probably fine…if you were just reading it for the articles.

[image credit: AP Photo/M. Spencer]
[source: Associated Press]